Doulos,

I like your last comment here. I think we all want to get lined up with the Bible.

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It cannot be affirmed that the Old Testament law of tithes is binding on the Christian Church, nevertheless the principle of this law remains, and is incorporated in the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:13,14); and if, as is the case, the motive that ought to prompt to liberality in the cause of religion and of the service of God be greater now than in Old Testament times, then Christians ought to go beyond the ancient Hebrew in consecrating both themselves and their substance to God.

Jesus refocused attention on inward attitudes. He criticized some who went so far as to tithe tiny grains of spiceā€”not because they tithed, but because they neglected the weightier matters of the law (Matt 23:23). He regarded stewardship of finances as an indication of trustworthiness with spiritual things (Luke 16:11), which were more important (Matt 6:19-20).

Nowhere does the New Testament require Christians to tithe in the sense of giving 10 percent, but it does reiterate many things associated with tithing: those who minister are entitled to receive support (1 Cor 9:14); the poor and needy should be cared for (1 Cor 16:1; Gal 2:10); those who give can trust God, as the source of all that is given (2 Cor 9:10), to supply their needs (2 Cor 9:8; Php 4:19); and giving should be done joyously (2 Cor 9:7). The New Testament directs that taxes be paid to the state (Rom 13:6-7), which replaced Israel's theocracy. Paul's vocabulary and teaching suggest that giving is voluntary and that there is no set percentage. Following the example of Christ, who gave even his life (2 Cor 8:9), we should cheerfully give as much as we have decided (2 Cor 9:7) based on how much the Lord has prospered us (1 Cor 16:2), knowing that we reap in proportion to what we sow (2 Cor 9:6) and that we will ultimately give account for our deeds (Rom 14:12).

The New Testament does not specify a particular percentage that believers are required to give. This being said, however, believers are most certainly encouraged to give (see Rom. 15:26-27; 1 Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8:7) and to give generously and liberally (see Rom. 12:8; 2 Cor. 9:11-13), each according to his own ability (Acts 11:29; 2 Cor. 8:12), with a willing, cheerful heart (2 Cor. 9:7). Even those who are poor are permitted to give, and praised for doing so (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4; 2 Cor. 8:1-5). Paul sets forth Jesus as the believer's example for giving (2 Cor. 8:8-9). We should give out of a heart full of gratitude toward God for what He's done for us through Christ! It is clear, then, that sacrificial giving is very much encouraged (2 Cor. 9:5) -- though not commanded (2 Cor. 8:8).

Of course, believers should still be careful who they give to. We must be good stewards of the resources which God has given us, look into different opportunities for giving, and give to those who are above reproach in their financial stewardship (2 Cor. 8:20-21).

Although there are many passages in the New Testament which address the issue of giving, the most detailed passage on this subject can be found in 2 Corinthians 8-9.

We need to get away from the law mindset on this matter. Our minds and hearts should be focused on our church and the world around us, and we should be ready to give to help others and further the kingdom, even if we do without. We must have an eternal perspective; this world and its "goodies" are not what are important. The work of the kingdom of Christ should provide the focus and measure for everything we do and have.


I cannot tell you how much you should give. If your greatest desire is to further the kingdom of Christ, and everything you have is at His disposal, then the balance will be tipped toward giving. Imagine what the church could do if we all had the attitude of the Israelites when it came time to build the tabernacle! (Ex. 35:5ff)


Wes